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Pine Island Road expansion funding plan approved

By Staff | May 22, 2012

Cape Coral City Council approved a measure Monday that will provide the funding mechanism for the expansion of Pine Island Road.

The road expansion plan of Pine Island Road from Chiquita Boulevard to Burnt Store Road, will cost the city less than $1 million over four years, thanks to a spending plan where the city would only have to pay the interest on an $8.8 million loan from the State Infrastructure Bank.

That in stark contrast to the nearly $54 million it would have cost six years ago for the same project, which included $37.7 million for the right-of-way.

The council passed the measure without much discussion.

Other issues, including the renovation of the city complex’s air conditioning system and an ordinance that would declare a parcel in the northeast Cape surplus to be conveyed to an adjoining property owner, though, drew discussion at city hall Monday.

Public Works engineer Oliver Clarke was questioned as to why he lowered the contingency amount for the air conditioning project by two-thirds, from 15 percent of the total bid amount to 5 percent.

“I would have approved 15 percent because you said the building was difficult to identify,” Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said.

Acting City Manager Steve Pohlman, who was taking part in his last meeting in that role, said 5 percent is the norm and that it formerly was 10 percent.

“Don’t we know what we’re getting into? This building isn’t the norm. Are you confident?” Chulakes-Leetz asked Clarke.

“I’d like to not spend a nickel. It’s a judgment call that isn’t black or white,” Clarke responded. “We want to get this done without a contingency. I’m not sure we can do it with a 39-year-old building.”

Though Chulakes-Leetz was concerned about having Public Works come back later for more money, council passed the measure unanimously.

As for the triangular-shaped property on Northeast 12th Street, Business Manager Mike Ilczyszyn said it was a quick-claim deal to prevent trespassing.

Chulakes-Leetz and Mayor John Sullivan called the move an extension of the recently defeated fishing ordinance that would cut off access to water near a bridge and refused to support it. The motion passed 6-2.

Toward the end, there was a late flurry of business. Council passed motions to designate Councilmember Kevin McGrail and Sullivan as the two representatives to meet with the Board of County Commissioners for discussions on the findings of the North Spreader.

Council also unanimously approved authorization for the city manager to conduct a high-level review of land that could be used for mitigation.

But it shot down a motion by Chulakes-Leetz to allow Pohlman to keep the 5 percent pay hike he got for being acting city manager, with apologies from most council members.

In other business, council approved the reclassification of the contract specialist position to a utilities business analyst within the Utilities Department.

Council also appointed Jeff Roman as the Planning & Zoning member to serve as alternate on the Burnt Store Right-of-Way Commission.

It also adopted the updated the Joint Unified Local Mitigation Strategy of Lee County as the formal guide for Cape Coral’s hazard mitigation activities, and granted a Certificate of Public Convenience to Guardian Wheelchair and Stretcher Transport to operate a limousine or taxi in Cape Coral.